June 22, 2007

One Down, 98 To Go

EVEN BEFORE THE FIRST anniversary of its opening, neighborhood bistro Canele (3219 Glendale Blvd.) has earned a spot on Jonathan Gold's 99 Essential Restaurants for LA. Sayeth LA Weekly's Pulitzer Prize winner:
"In Atwater Village, Canele can feel a lot like an ongoing dinner party that just happens to tolerate strangers at its tables.... The chef/owner is Corina Weibel, a Nancy Silverton protegee who also cooked for a while at Lucques, and she works the farmers-market-driven urban rustic side of new Los Angeles cooking... This is cooking worthy of the good china."
The recognition comes on the heels of Sunday's Los Angeles Times love letter:
"The most coveted seats at Canele in Atwater Village are at the large communal table in the front window. New parents are showing off their baby to an aunt or two at one end of the table, while a couple on a date is seated at the other end. The food comes - shrimp and avocado salad sparked with lime, cilantro and chile, dandelion salad in a piquant vinaigrette, herb-roasted rack of lamb, a simple omelet - any one of which may inspire someone at the table to order more of the same."
Mrs. Newbie and I finally tried Canele last weekend - just drinks and dessert - and we must disagree with one point. The best table is the really bar, overlooking Canele's petite open kitchen.

Ask for it. Watch how Corina and staff whisper their way through a plating emergency. Or an undercooked lamb. Or customers who irrationally refuse the restaurant's namesake, a two-bite caramelized confection, on their way out the door.

For a drama-infused reality-show city like LA, that's essential.

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